Eastern Notes: Barnes, Flynn, Heat, Schedule, Haslem

Young Raptors players Scottie Barnes, the reigning Rookie of the Year, and Malachi Flynn, were able to really strut their stuff at a Toronto pro-am game on Saturday, writes Gilbert Ngabo of The Toronto Star. Flynn scored 54 points and Barnes poured in 34 of his own at Mattamy Athletic Centre, during the first pro-am contest in almost three years due to COVID-19-related delays. The Raptors players’ team would ultimately win the contest, 143-131.

Nbago adds that the pair showcased plenty of chemistry and highlight-reel-worthy output. Barnes, a 6’9″ forward out of Florida State, made several athletic dunks and connected on flashy no-look dishes. Though Flynn started off the game slowly, he eventually showed off an excellent shooting stroke as the contest got cooking.

There’s more out of the East:

  • While the Heat’s starting lineup remains a bit in flux, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is fairly confident about who will close games for Miami. In addition to starters Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry, Winderman considers guards Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo likely to round out the team’s closing five.
  • Winderman also goes on to unpack how he anticipates the Heat will allocate minutes. He expects Butler, Adebayo, Lowry, and Herro to be guaranteed to receive major run this season, with Oladipo, Max Strus, and Caleb Martin also likely to receive significant rotation roles. He thinks either Dewayne Dedmon or Omer Yurtseven will crack the rotation as a reserve big man option, and believes the shooting of Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson, or Haywood Highsmith on any given night could dictate which of those three wings sees the floor.
  • The NBA is aiming to curb road travel in the hopes of limiting load management for star players. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel writes that, as a consequence, 12 of the Heat‘s 41 home games at FTX Arena will feature pairs of back-to-back contests against the same team, including playoff-level clubs like the Bucks, Raptors, Hawks, Cavaliers and Hornets. Winderman writes that this approach could impede just how much Miami fans will get to see rival teams’ star players, noting that an injury or illness could ultimately mean local fans will miss out on seeing Giannis Antetokounmpo or Trae Young during the regular season. Winderman adds that, in general, the NBA has lowered its travel mileage tally to 41,000 miles per club, 2,000 miles less than the 2021/22 season’s former record low of 43,000.
  • Longtime Heat power forward Udonis Haslem announced earlier today that he will re-sign with Miami for his 20th, and last, NBA season. Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes that the three-time champ hopes to join the team’s ownership group, led by Mickey Arison, after he retires. Chiang notes that the Heat are just $200K beneath the league’s luxury tax, and expects the team to field a 14-man standard roster, leaving one roster spot available. By avoiding the luxury tax for the third straight season, the Heat would be working towards avoiding the repeater tax, which penalizes clubs that exceed the luxury tax thrice during a four-season window.
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